Tuesday, 3. May 2016 22:51 | Author:admin
Millennials and Xers need read no further, unless you want to be entertained by Boomer ineptitude.
“Why don’t you try Snapchat?” a friend said to me, “It’s a great way to connect with friends.”
My initial reaction was hesitancy, Snapchat? wasn’t that the thing that kids used for all sorts of unseemly purposes? Snapchat? How can I take on another social media platform when I can’t keep up with tools that I already use? Snapchat?
But then I thought about all the times I’ve encouraged teachers and adminstrators to try something new, and all the times that I tried to help them past their fears and hesitancy, promoting the importance of our participation in the digital revolution if we are to retain our relevance. I’ve stood in front of groups preaching the gospel of safe social media. What kind of a hypocrite am I if I’m not willing to try something new?
So I downloaded the Snapchat app, created an account, added friends, and almost immediately hit a wall.
For those who have not used Snapchat, it’s basically a photo and video sharing app. Selected friends or groups receive pictures and short video clips. There is a photo editor to customize the photographs, and a chat feature. Along with this is the ability to create a “story,” a set of pictures and videos that can be seen by all of the followers. The signature feature of the app is impermance. A receiver views pictures and videos once or twice and then thy are removed from the phone (I know there are ways to save these, but that’s not the spirit of the app), likewise, chats and comments are removed once they have been read. The clips in the “story” stay there for 24 hours and then disappear.
I found the app terribly confusing. What do the different screens and controls do? I couldn’t find things I sent, and more than once I missed something sent to me. The “one shot and then it’s gone” aspect exacerbated every mistake. Bigger than this, I had no sense of what this tool was was or how I could use it. I considered asking my daughter (to her utter horror) how to use the platform. Ultimately, though, I surrendered to the modern Mecca of all professional development, YouTube. I watched a video that explained all the screens and controls, but most of these I’d figured out already through trial and error. What it didn’t answer was why I should use the platform and what I could do with it. I became certain that Snapchat was going to be added to the dust pile of social media that wasn’t for me.
But this morning during a ride, it suddenly occurred to me that I could take pictures and videos during the ride and people could see them in order on my story.
Suddenly the whole function became clear to me and this unweildy gadget suddenly became a tool. My whole approach to learning and using the controls was directed to the things I wanted to do. My learning curve jumped, and my skill (though not great yet) improved. Now I’m looking forward to finding new abilities and uses.
So, why do I tell this story? Not to encourage everyone to use Snapchat, and not to illustrate my ineptitude (there are plenty of examples of this on these pages). I think this experience says something about training. It’s easy to show people how to do things, it’s harder (but more vital) to show them why. Without vision, a tool is a gadget, and without motivation learning is just so many tricks.
As always I welcome your comments.